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About the Book

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III


Part V

Part VI

Part VII



Part IV: The Development of Personality: The Old and the New

Chapter 7

The Body of the First Adam and of the Last Adam


The Summation of Man in the First Adam

     THE CONFLICT BETWEEN the old nature and the new within the individual, is re-enacted on a larger scale in the conflict between the body of the first Adam and the Body of the Last Adam.
     We know what the Body of Christ is: what is the body of the First Adam? One of the philosophical problems which particularly interested the earlier psychologists was how a number of powers of sense (hearing, seeing, etc.) could be unified into a single consciousness. Of course the problem was stated in much more sophisticated terms. As a matter of fact, the situation is far more complex than was ever believed. It is no longer a case of five or six senses being integrated, it is a question of the integration of every living cell in the body. For each cell appears to have an autonomy entirely its own. George A. Dorsey put it this way:

     Protoplasm is known only by the body it keeps: but whether one cell is the entire body or only one in a body of billions of cells, every cell has certain properties or functions. It is self-supporting: it has its own definite wall, or is so cohesive that its outer surface serves the purpose. It must get rid of waste. It moves. Its movements may be of the flowing kind or "amoeboid" -- part or parts of it flow out in processes, like the movements of the ameba. Or, it may be covered in whole or in part by fine cilia which set up whipping movements.
     It is excitable or irritable; when touched it moves. It responds to certain stimuli. It has conductivity: a stimulus on one side may lead to movement on the opposite side. It can coordinate its movements, as it does in the harmonious actions of the cilia or the pseudopodia in amoeboid movements. It grows, or has the power of reproduction.

    This then is the cell, in every sense of the term a living thing; and while it has no self-consciousness, it does have consciousness to the extent

53. Dorsey, G. A., Why We Behave Like Hunan Beings, Blue Ribbon Books, New York 1925, pp.77, 78.

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that it is excitable and irritable. Moreover, these cells seem to "know what they are about." Paul W. Weiss of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research expressed the matter as follows: (54)

     At the moment of its creation or very soon after, each of the millions of cells that make up a living organism seems to know its destiny. It knows whether it will become part of an eye or a leg or a chicken feather. It knows also how to find and group itself in the proper arrangement with other like cells to make up the living fabric of eyes, legs, feathers, skin, and so forth.
     Cells dissociated from the chicken and separated from their original site, and from each other -- days before feather germs had appeared, got together and made feathers.
     Experiments imply that a random assortment of skin cells that never had been part of a feather can, as a group, set up conditions -- a "field" -- which will then cause members of the group to move and grow in concert and in accordance with a typical pattern of organo-genesis.

     Some years ago a film was shown to us in the University of Toronto in which the process of photosynthesis has been captured by the camera, and slowed up and greatly magnified so that it could be watched. It seems unlikely that anyone who saw that film will ever forget the way in which the little green cells (plastids) shoved and elbowed their way along the pathways appointed, like early shoppers racing to an opening sale and jostling one another out of the way as they went. Having picked up their wares they could afford to make a more leisurely return journey. It would, of course, be quite wrong to attribute such feelings to these cells, but the description certainly fits the appearance.
     Sir Charles Sherrington had occasion to watch this kind of thing, and he describes it in another connection in the following words:

     We seem to watch battalions of specific catalysts, lined up, each waiting stop-watch in hand, for its moment to play the part assigned to it, a step in one or another great thousand-linked chain process. . . .
     The total system is organized. . .  In this great company along with stop-watches, run dials telling how confreres and substrates are getting on, so that at zero time each takes its turn. Let that catastrophe befall which is death, and these catalysts become a disorderly mob. . . .

     In one of the papers published by the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Edward McCrady, writing on the general topic of teaching biology in college, neatly sums up this phenomenon of life, in which the many become the one: (56)

54. Weiss, Paul W., "Cracking Life's Code," Scientific News Letter, May 5, 1956, p.275.
55. Sherrington, Sir Charles, Man on His Nature, Cambridge University Press, 1940, p.78.
56. McCrady, E., Religious Perspectives in College Teaching: in Biology, Hazen Foundation, New Haven, no date, pp.19, 20.

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     I, for instance, certainly have a stream of consciousness which I, as a whole, experience; and yet I include within myself millions of white blood cells which give impressive evidence of experiencing their own individual streams of consciousness of which I'm not directly aware. It is both entertaining and instructive to watch living leukocytes crawling about within transparent tissues of the living tadpole's tail. They give every indication of choosing their paths, experiencing uncertainty, making decisions, changing their minds, feeling contacts, etc., that we observe in larger individuals. . . .
     So I feel compelled to accept the conclusion that I am a community of individuals who have somehow become integrated into a higher order of individuality endowed with a higher order of mind which somehow coordinates and harmonizes the activities of the lesser individuals within me.

     McCrady's conclusion is that purely naturalistic evolutionary concepts, at least as currently formulated, are not sufficient to account for this fact. But this process does not stop here. There is a collective consciousness; Jung refers to it as the collective unconscious, but the idea is the same. The individual consciousness within any given species seem also to be summed up as an overall consciousness. It is conceivable that in any such species, if the number of individual consciousnesses is too small, the "greater self" becomes sickly and dies. In nature, there is a minimum number of animals required to keep the species alive and when they are reduced below this number, special steps must be taken to preserve the species from extinction.
     Man is a species, Homo sapiens. As such he, too, appears to have a giant self. Eric Sauer, speaking of this fact, observed:

     The sum total of all natural men forms an enormous racially articulated organism, and each individual, through his mere birth, is inescapably a member thereof. He is "in Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:22).
     Humanity is not simply a numerical total of many distinct individual persons, but one single colossal "body" which according to its origin and nature in a myriad, manifold and differentiated branches, sets forth its first father Adam.

     The race is not a series of whole Adams, but the fragments of a single Adam. Together we thus constitute the body of Adam, an entity as real and as articulate as the Body of Christ. There is, however, this fundamental difference -- the body of Adam is sinful. This explains a number of things. As Kenneth Walker pointed out, "Tolstoy was very puzzled by the fact . . . that men in masses are able to commit crimes of which they could never be guilty when acting as individuals." (58) Were it not for the existence of the Body of Christ, this other

57. Sauer, Erich, Dawn of World Redemption, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1953, p.57.
58. Tolstoy, quoted by Walker, ref.33, p.158.

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diseased body would soon manifest itself for what it is, without restraint. Here we have the basis of our Lord's statement, "Ye are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13).
     As we look at ourselves and one another, and are reminded of our apparent powerlessness much of the time, we wonder how this can possibly be true, that we should be the salt of the earth. But because the organisms which are here in view, the body of Adam and the Body of Christ, are so much more than merely the sum of the parts, the significance of the individual's contribution for good or ill cannot be measured by the "size" of the individual.
     The essential evil of the body of Adam is not demonstrated by the exceptional behaviour of a few notorious criminals like Hitler and Nero. Whether this basic nature reveals itself excessively or not, is largely a matter of accident. Israel's most godly king and Israel's most wicked king were not essentially different when circumstances permitted the natural man to express itself completely. Because they were kings, David and Ahab could to a large extent do what they wished. And when they were unrestrained, they both began by coveting, went on to stealing, and ended up by murdering.
(59) William Temple put it: (60)

     The worst things that happen do not happen because a few people are monstrously wicked, but because most people are like us. When we grasp this, we begin to realize that our need is not merely for moving quietly on in the way we are going: our need is for radical change, to find a power that is going to turn us into something else.

     Most readers are aware of Thomas Hobbes' philosophical view of the human race as a monstrous and unruly thing which could not survive unless some surrender was made of the autonomy of the cells to the central directing authority. He called this Beast "Leviathan." On the title page of the edition of 1651, there is a picture of a giant man rising high above the earth with a crown on its head. At first glance, it looks as though the body is covered with scales, but a more careful view reveals that the body is composed of people. Seeing that the human body operates successfully only when controlled by a single central authority, Hobbes argued that mankind must submit for its own good to the same kind of central authority. The following extract from his "Leviathan" makes his point clear and has implications to which we wish to draw attention: (61)

     This is more than consent, or concern; it is a real unity of all men, in

59. David's story: 2 Samuel 11:1-27; Ahab's: 1 Kings 21 :1-29.
60. Baker, E. A., editor, The Teachings of William Temple, James Clarke, London, no daye, p.62.
61. Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, Blackwell, Oxford, no date, p.112.

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one and the same person, made by covenant of every man with every man, in such manner, as if every man should say to every man, "I authorize and give up my right of governing myself to this man, or to this assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy right to him and authorize all his actions in like manner."
     This done, the multitude so united in one person, is called a commonwealth. This is the generation of that great Leviathan, or rather to speak more reverently, of that mortal god, to which we owe, under the immortal God, our peace and defense. For by this authority, given him by every particular man in the Commonwealth, he hath the use of so much power and strength conferred upon him that by terror thereof he is enabled to form the wills of them all. . .
     And in him consisteth the essence of the Commonwealth; which to define it, is one person, of whose acts and great multitude by mutual covenance one with another, have made themselves every one the author. . . .

     In this remarkable passage, Hobbes has clearly seen how many individuals can be so united into a giant self as to be thenceforth personally responsible every one for the things undertaken by the whole organism. In this sense, every member of the body of Adam is responsible for the wickedness of man wherever it expresses itself. It is not enough for man to say, "If I had been so-and-so, I would not have done it." Wickedness is a disease of the body of Adam which affects every cell. It is not because some of the cells have escaped this infection that they are apparently healthy, nor is it because some of the cells are fundamentally more diseased that in them wickedness comes to a head. Tempting though it is to make such assumptions, one only has to remember David and Ahab. It is largely a matter of accident and of opportunity. No part of this body of Adam has escaped the disease. This is what it means when it says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).
     John Taylor summed it up:

     Man is a single organism in which we are all involved. Fallen humanity is "the body of sin" of which Adam is the head, an organism that is still growing and branching, working out through history the innate disobedience which leads on to self-destruction.

The Summation of Man in the Last Adam

     While the body of the First Adam grows toward the time of its final complete corruption, another Body is coming into being of which the Head is the Last Adam, and whose destiny is the stature of a perfect man. This, too, is therefore a giant self.

62. Taylor, John, Man in the Midst, Highway Press, London, 1955, p.64.

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     When Adam was created, he was true man. When he fell, he no longer represented the image of God and therefore no longer represented "man." For God had said, "Let us make man after our image." This is man by definition. The last Adam, being the "express image of God" (Hebrews 1:3), once more restored true manhood to the world's view. Jesus Christ came to reveal God to man. But He also came to reveal man to man. And this, in two quite distinct ways: First, by what He was, He revealed what is God's definition of "manhood." Secondly, by contrast, human nature was provoked in the crucifixion into declaring what its constitution really is. We are still deceived into imagining that if we were faced with a perfect gentleman, we would recognize and applaud his worth at once. We forget that the perfect gentleman has already appeared, and He was crucified. In his famous poem, "When Jesus Came to Birmingham," Studdart Kennedy with keen insight shows that man would do the same today with possibly one or two refinements.
     Those, then, who are still in Adam, are not looked upon in Scripture as "men," and therefore aggregates of them are not looked upon as "people." This is stated simply and clearly in 1 Peter 2:10. True "people" are those who bear the image of God. This image has to be re-created, and it guarantees membership in a new species of man -- the Communion of Saints, the Body of Christ. O. Hallesby put it this way:

     If I had to tell you in one short sentence why I became a Christian, I think that in order to be as simple and as clear as possible, I should say that I did it to become a man.

     As we have already pointed out, the total potentiality of personality which has now been fragmented into the world's two billion individuals by the process of natural generation was once latent in Adam. Consequently individualistic though each man is, he is a little Adam. But all these multitudes of people have sprung not from a perfect, but from a fallen racial head.
     In the Last Adam, a new race is being created by supernatural generation, and in a very real sense each saint -- let it be said with reverence -- is a little Christ. Individualistic though we are, we derive our new nature from the Last Adam as other men derive theirs from the First. So we actually partake of the divine nature in Him who was God made man (2 Peter 1:3, 4), for God was indeed once perfectly expressed in terms of human personality and now seeks to express Himself in us as He did in the Lord Jesus Christ.

63. Hallesby, O., Why I Am a Christian, Intervarsity Press, London, 1953, p.44.

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     In one of those rare moments of sudden clarity, the following words were penned by the author a few years ago:

     Why is it that Christ is the contemporary of every age and has no nationality? Why does He belong to all races? How is it possible that such diverse peoples as the Chinese and the French, for example, can or have seen in Him the ideal man? One may collect pictures from all parts of the world, inspired by an attempt to visualize whet Jesus Christ was like, in which each culture sees Him as one of its own sons, indeed -- its son par excellence.
     It seems fairly certain that such figures as are universally known among men, whose place of origin is also known, will always remain nationally identifiable. Moses, Plato, Confucius, Gandhi, Dostoevsky Napoleon, Hannibal, Ghengis Khan, Lincoln, Churchill -- each remains "great" in the estimation of the world, but each is a national figure.
     Jesus Christ is the one figure still officially unrecognized by His own nation, yet claimed by all nations. In Him is male and female, black brown, yellow and white, ancient and modern, old and young -- the whole Race -- truly the sum total of all human personality potential, uniquely the Son of man.

     Is it any wonder that His Body should be completed by the gathering together of redeemed individuals from every tribe and nation under heaven, each of whom individually and all of whom together reflect His Person, as the children of Adam individually and as a race, together reflect his person?
     Perhaps at any moment, were it possible to add us all together, we should find that the Lord Jesus was still wholly present in the world. In this sense, we each provide a small channel for Him, and all together form the vehicle, the Body, of which He is the Head and by which He still dwells with men.
     All the infinite variety of human personality which has found expression through the centuries in individual people who have all come out of Adam's "loins" must have been potentially resident in Adam at the first, just as Levi is said to have "paid tithes" in Abraham (Hebrews 7:9). So in the Second Adam, this vast potential re-appears and finds expression in His life. When He now enters any human heart, He is reincarnate. But no one of us could display His character in its total range, so He distributes Himself, as it were, to each individual believer, and through that individual He displays to the world just that measure of His total person as perfect man, which is altogether appropriate to the soul thus indwelt. I suppose that if men had never fallen, each one of us, individually, would have lived in this way as a natural outgrowth of our constitution as a child of God, though always with the limitations of human as opposed to Divine nature. What would have developed would have been part of the whole potential in each of us, perfect,

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flawless, and beautiful, a reflection of the "likeness" which God appointed. But it would always be only a fragment of the whole that was somehow "wrapped up" in Adam. But, now, the new life, instead of being a natural outgrowth of that which we receive from Adam, is a supernatural outgrowth of a new constitution as a child of God indwelt by the Lord Jesus as the Second Adam.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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